Arbitrage Capital of Global Banks
67 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2021 Last revised: 22 Apr 2023
Date Written: April 2021
We show that the role of unsecured, short-term wholesale funding for global banks has changed significantly in the post-financial-crisis regulatory environment. Global banks mainly use such funding to finance liquid, near risk-free arbitrage positions—in particular, the interest on excess reserves arbitrage and the covered interest rate parity arbitrage. In this environment, we examine the response of global banks to a large negative wholesale funding shock as a result of the U.S. money market mutual fund reform implemented in 2016. In contrast to past episodes of wholesale funding dry-ups, we find that the primary response of global banks to the reform was a cutback in arbitrage positions that relied on unsecured funding, rather than a reduction in loan provision.
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